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Report: Pneumococcal disease cases high in state, especially in Alaska Natives

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Posted: Monday, December 3, 2012 12:07 am

FAIRBANKS – The Alaska Division of Epidemiology has issued a notice regarding the latest vaccination recommendations to prevent Invasive Pneumococcal Disease.

Alaska, the Nov. 27 notice states, has had “considerably higher” incidence rates than the United States as a whole since reporting began in Alaska in 2007.

“Furthermore, within Alaska, rates of IPD have been particularly high among Alaska Native persons,” it says.

The notice says pneumococcus is a common cause of otitis media and sinusitis.

It says pneumococci bacteria also “commonly invade parts of the body that are normally sterile and cause more severe illness, such as bacteremia, meningitis, and pneumonia.”

The new recommendations suggest that high-risk persons receive an additional though different pneumococcal vaccine. High-risk persons are identified as those older than age 19 and who have cerebrospinal fluid leaks, cochlear implants, functional or anatomic asplenia, and adults with immunocompromising conditions, according to the notice.

As a result of these new Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations, the second vaccine has been added to the list of vaccines supplied by the state of Alaska that are available for underinsured and uninsured adults.

Contact the newsroom at 459-7572.

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